How to Fight

I say this without a shred of drama, and I’m sure I’m not alone: I have cried every day since January 20th. Growing up in the shadow of Donald Trump, I think I had an idea of what to expect. I think I had an idea that he would actually do the things he promised on the campaign trail. I think I had an idea that this would be a very, very real and serious nightmare that we’re walking into. 

I wasn’t able to attend any of the women’s marches this weekend. I grappled with that fact. I wanted to be there because being there seems so much better than doing nothing. I don’t want to do nothing. Every fiber of my being doesn’t want to do nothing. But, also, I don’t know what to do. Even a little bit. I know you need to start small, do one thing at a time that’s meaningful for you, that resists this paradigm, but when and how and with what patience?

Philosophically, I’m an anarchist and have been so for a solid fifteen years. I genuinely believe in people’s ability to govern themselves because we’re all adults and if we dig deep and do the work on dismantling these power structures that have pit us one against another, we can get past that and build a better, more beautiful, more egalitarian world between us. (Cool article: “Why we should listen to anarchists in the age of Trump.”) Idealistic? Yeah, of course. But I’d rather be an idealist who’s philosophy is based in love and respect than anything else.

I think marches are great for visibility. I think direct action is even better for results. I think any thing that you can do to resist on a daily basis that is rooted in love and self-care and compassion for other people is the best option that there is. It’s hard to start though. It’s also hard to get through the day when you see yet another news article that breaks your heart in two. It feels like my new mantra is “This isn’t my country. This isn’t my country. This isn’t my country.”

So where to go? Someone shared a wonderful link the other day (I think it was the @guerrillafeminism Instagram account) that’s an email signup to receive one actionable item to do every single day. Do it. Do it. Do it. A lot of it involves calling your representatives. (If you’re like me, you might appreciate this Shy Person’s Guide to Calling Representatives to help with the process.) But remember, your representatives who represent you. There are more of us than them.

I’d love to start some type of blog for personal stories. (Oh how I wish dumptrump.blog weren’t already taken.) An art group. Any kind of community. A friend of mine invited me to a book club on Facebook to read books recommended by Obama and allows people to come together once a month to connect empathetically. It feels so important and significant and if we let ourselves start to feel like this is the norm over the next four years, we’ve lost. The action has to keep going and moving forward.

It feels monolithic because it is, but reminder:

Water drips through stone.


  • Anne McCarthy

    Right there with you. Sending a hug your way <3 Cry as many days as many times as you need but always know you aren't alone! I think the tricky thing is going to be realizing that grand changes can't be done quickly as you hinted in the quote. Progress moves slowly especially at the scale of a country. We can each hold our own rebellion through every interaction we have though. Don't lose sight of the power writing about your perspective (you have over 2K followers!), talking to people, reading books, subscribing to resistance newsletters, volunteering for orgs you care about, working within a8c to create positive changes, etc. matters. It matters and it does make a difference. Just writing this is helping even though it's easy to have it feel so hopeless. Start the blog for gathering stories even if it's just your own for now. Little actions build on one another until they are no longer small. Even within our work at automattic, I think a great deal can be done to drive positive change forward not just in the US but elsewhere. Let's find a way to do that.

    One thing I'm realizing more and more these days…gather your community around you in whatever form that is. Find those who can make your rebellion and your day to day sustainable. It's so important we acknowledge how long we will likely need to fight this so we can prepare and not burn out.

    Sometimes you are the rallying cry and sometimes you need to sit with other souls who understand without you saying a word. Make sure to make space for both.

    P.S. I subscribed to the one action a day newsletter thanks to you – you've already made a difference 🙂

  • Kristen S.

    I have wondered this myself in regards to the global refugee crisis. We don’t have anything quite as dramatic as Trump for President, but our handling of refugees is bad and I have no idea how to help. Thanks for encouraging me to think about it again.
    And we’re with you on the Trump thing too, from across the pond.

    • Erica Varlese

      One silver lining is that I think a lot of this (in the US and elsewhere) is it’s moving us to action more quickly than before. Hopefully we can figure out how to be more human to each other these days. I’m glad I know so many people who feel the same way and want to help. ❤️

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